NOV 10, 2018
BY: DANA BECKER, The Messenger Sports Reporter
HUTCHINSON, Kan. — The Iowa Central football team opened their season with an upset of a ranked opponent.
Now, they hope to close it the same way.
The Tritons (6-4 overall) take on No. 8 Hutchinson here Saturday beginning at noon inside Gowans Stadium.
With a 43-9 victory over Fort Scott last Saturday at home, Iowa Central went 5-1 at home, including a 26-16 victory over 14th-ranked Butler in August.
"To go out and get a win the way we did … that was pretty special," ICCC head coach Jesse Montalto said. "We're two games above .500 now and we've accomplished two goals we set out for ourselves in terms of having a winning season and getting to a bowl game.
"I'm proud of what our guys have accomplished so far and happy for them."
The schedule has also featured games with No. 2 Garden City, third-ranked Iowa Western and No. 15 Highland.
Iowa Central will take part in the Graphic Edge Bowl on Dec. 2 in Cedar Falls at the UNI-Dome against an opponent yet to be announced.
"Our kids want to go down there and beat a Top-10 team in their place to keep our momentum going into the bowl and offseason," Montalto said. "Personally, I've never had a season where I haven't beat at least two ranked teams, so I'd like to keep that going."
Blake Dever threw for 204 yards and three touchdowns, completing 15 of 19. Rashad Witty had five catches for 123 yards and two scores, including an 80-yarder, with Emmanuel Logan-Greene hauling in five catches vs. Fort Scott.
Dever is completing 61 percent of his passes for 1,482 yards and 11 touchdowns on the year, with Logan-Greene leading with 58 receptions and 637 yards. Peeples has 564 yards rushing and Witty has almost 1,100 all-purpose yards.
"It felt good to secure a winning season with a bowl game coming up," said Dever, a transfer from Arkansas State. "Now, we have a tough opponent on the road in Hutchinson to take on."
Spencer Cuvelier anchors a defense allowing 19.5 points and 91.3 rushing yards per contest, as the he has 84 tackles, 3.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss. Daquan Cross has 68 tackles, 6.5 sacks, four pass breakups, three forced fumbles and an interception.
Michael Slater got in on the scoring action last week, catching a touchdown pass and returning an interception for six. He has 6.5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss on the year.
The Blue Dragons (8-2) are coming off a tough 24-21 setback to Garden City this past week, a loss that snapped their six-game win streak. The other loss for Hutchinson came in September to Iowa Western.
Dezmon Jackson has ran for 1,080 yards with 12 touchdowns this year, while Mason Schucker is 121-for-245 for 1,583 yards with 12 touchdowns and six interceptions. Khalil McClain and Jaylen Erwin each have over 400 yards receiving and a combined 11 touchdowns.
Hutchinson has posted over 400 yards of total offense four times this year, including 573 in a 61-21 victory over Fort Scott.
"It's going to be a tough game on both sides of the ball," Montalto said. "They are pretty good on defense with some big, athletic guys. We are going to have to try to be creative on offense and muscle up with them on defense."
The Blue Dragons have won each of the past four regular season meetings between the two teams, outscoring the Tritons 41-9. Hutchinson also claimed a 41-21 victory in 2012.
Game notes: Six wins matches a single-season high for Montalto as a head coach. … From 2015-17 the Tritons won a total of three games. … Hutchinson has won all four meetings between the two by 28 points or more. … Hutchinson ranks fourth in NJCAA in rush yards allowed (69.2) and eighth in total defense (227.5). … The Tritons are 10th in rush yards allowed (91.3) and 12th in total defense (251.8).